We spent only a few days at home in July, and this is exactly how we imagine a perfect summer: packing out only to sort and wash things before packing them in again.
We spent time with family, traveled in Hungary, and flew to Crete for 9 days at the end of July. We flew the first time in our lives to Corfu for our honeymoon 9 years ago. Then came Zakynthos the following year, a tiny gem of incredible natural beauties, Caretta Caretta turtles and perfect beaches. We told ourselves and each other back then that we’ll visit a new Greek island each year. Khm. And after 8 years, we went back to Greece this July. 😋 To Crete, with Tomi. (No complaints or regrets though. We visited incredible places in those 8 years!)
So July was full of hiking – solo, couple and family -, Lake Balaton and Crete beaches, and some amazing summer sunsets. Ah, summer is our favorite month, and we wish it to never end. But let’s see some of the highlights.
Returning to the Balaton Uplands for two weeks. This is not a new destination for us, but one where we return happily. It’s our favorite region in Hungary and has an amazing mix of natural and cultural beauties co-existing in harmony. This time we spent two weeks there which allowed us to enjoy it at a slow pace. It was a family holiday, a beach holiday, a nature getaway, and we even managed to escape for one full day with Csaba, just the two of us. This has happened for the first time since Tomi was born – it was high time.
A new beach (or two) every day while in Crete. Unusual for us, the 9 days we spent in Crete were spent almost entirely on the beaches. Not much hiking, sightseeing or anything else. It was hot (you can expect that there in July), the beaches were fabulous, the sea temperature was pleasant. We loved every minute of it (except the ones we didn’t, hah… read further). And Crete does offer an incredible selection of beaches!
We traveled slowly this month. At least slower than we used to, and it was intentional. Our time in the Balaton Uplands was not entirely a vacation, Csaba worked, too. Then in Crete we’ve only explored the western and southwestern areas of the island. We wanted it to be a leisure beach holiday without a packed itinerary. Of course, we could have easily spent another month exploring Crete, but it’s true anywhere we travel, and actually, the main reason for our heavily packed itineraries is that we have a limited amount of vacation days. That is what we need to change if we want to have more time to spend at the places we visit. Challenge accepted? 👍
We often ignore mentioning the challenges during our travels. Mainly because we’re so happy to be on the road that everything else is only a minor inconvenience that we promptly forget when we arrive at the upcoming spectacular view or beach. But unexpected situations usually come up, like in everyday life, too, and we have to manage them. So here come a few real life examples that no vacation is perfect.
Leaking tyre on our rental car. We arrived in Crete late afternoon on a Saturday. After we picked up our rental car at Heraklion, drove about two hours to Chania with a few stops on the way and parked our car at the accommodation we booked, we noticed that one of the tyres looked a bit strange. Not too bad, but we started at the gas station the next morning. We could definitely see by then that the pressure was low, and it was possibly leaking somewhere. But it was Sunday, and EVERYTHING is closed on a Sunday in Crete.
Fortunately the leaking was not too bad, so we drove to the beach and enjoyed our day, and then we had another visit at the gas station in the evening to pump some air in the tyre. The next morning (Monday, a workday, thank God!) we had to replace the tyre with the spare one, and we drove straight to the mechanic and got the bad tyre fixed within an hour. The verdict: be prepared to change tyres. We had practice since we’ve recently had a puncture with our own car at home. 😀
Mosquito bites. We barely slept on our first night in Crete. There were no mosquito nets at the place we booked, and we were eaten alive by mosquitos. Csaba and I pulled the sheets over our head to cover our faces, but we couldn’t do that for Tomi. His face and hands were full of mosquito bites by morning, and after more than a week they’re still not healed entirely as his skin is so sensitive. What could we do? We killed the mosquitos inside, never opened any windows again, only used the AC, and we bought Fenistil Gel in the first pharmacy. (Chania has at least one pharmacy that’s open even on Sunday.)
Removing a splinter from Tomi’s sole. We noticed it only in the morning, because he didn’t want to step on his right foot. And removing it was hard, because it was already deep inside his skin, and you can’t tell a 2-year-old to stay still, because the pain is necessary for healing. It took a tweezer, a needle, some warm water for soaking and attention and energy from both of us for about an hour to remove the splinter. We had sticking plasters, but we had to take another round to the pharmacy to buy Betadine for disinfection.
The healing was slow, because Tomi spent his days barefoot on the beach, and even waterproof plasters didn’t remain on his sole for long, so small grains of sand went into the wound again… The best solution we could come up with was plaster and socks. And 3 days later we flew back home, so he wasn’t barefoot anymore.
This is a typical issue that could have happened to any of us, but wouldn’t have caused much worry. But with Tomi, it was different. It was painful to hear him crying, we didn’t notice it immediately, because he can’t tell such things yet, and we were worried about the small, but deep wound not being able to heal quickly.
Anyway, it looks like no trip can pass without me buying another bottle of Betadine at the local pharmacy. It’s really time for me not to forget to ALWAYS pack one.
Balaton Uplands National Park, Hungary
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Coming up in August
We’ll probably have another road trip to one of our neighboring countries. Since our long-term plans are still in the works, we think we’ll have the time, but we don’t have any solid plans or anything booked. Croatia? Montenegro? Southern Dalmatia and Montenegro? Bosnia and Montenegro? Austria? You bet there’s no lack of ideas.
How about you? How was your July?
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